REGGIO CALABRIA, THE CITY OF BERGAMOT
Reggio Calabria, a province in the region of Calabria in Southern Italy, along with the capital of the same name, is perhaps known better around the world as the capital of bergamot. Bergamot is dubbed ‘green gold’ and known to be the most valuable citrus fruit in the world due to the properties of its essential oil that is used largely in the perfume industry. A key ingredient in perfumes, the bergamot acts like a binding agent, generally improving the aroma and allowing it to last longer. It may come as a surprise then to some, that approximately 90% of the world’s bergamot is grown almost entirely in a small confined area of the Reggio Calabria province: specifically, the lowermost tip of the Italian peninsula, some 75km of coastline spanning from the cities of Villa San Giovanni to Brancaleone.
REGIONAL SPECIALTIES OF REGGIO CALABRIA
A short walk through the capital city is all you need to understand the significance of bergamot in Reggio Calabria. Here you will find the many ways in which the locals have learnt to use bergamot over the last few centuries, since it was first introduced to the region. The bergamot is used to flavour a variety of sweet treats such as creams, drinks, candies and jams. You will also find the zest of this precious citrus fruit sprinkled over various savoury dishes, including risottos, pastas, meat dishes, and as a complement to some of the richest sauces. The peel is even used to make a liqueur.
A MAJOR CITRUS REGION OF ITALY
Not only specialising in bergamot, Reggio Calabria, with its southern positioning on the Italian peninsula is a rich land for other fine citrus fruits. The wider province of Reggio Calabria, is the largest province of Calabria for citrus production from which the majority of Italy’s clementines are grown, followed by also a large quantity of oranges, mandarins and lemons.